Thanks to the goons in D.C., health insurance is basically witheld from most folks’ paycheck just like the Ponzi schemes social security and Medicare. That the purchase of health insurance is a deductible expense for employers and not for employees creates the most perverse consequences, one of which is that insured employees feel like their health care is essentially “free.” This creates an artificially high demand, employers try to check with all manner of obstacles. Employers as the providers of this insurance are also inclined to provide this product in name only, to the extent many can get away with it. HMO’s are essentially this “insurance in name only” product. Barriers to real care (not the ridiculous and cheap “wellness” insanity) prevent patients from gaining access in a timely fashion or getting the care at all. This is achieved by granting bonuses to the gatekeepers to the extent to which their denial of real care has been effective. Patients enrolled in HMO’s have health cards they carry around authorizing them to see a doctor whose job it is to deny them care.
People are on to HMO’s. They suck and everyone knows it. It has become very difficult to peddle this fraud. Even employers have soured to this scam as they tend to lose their best employees once this product is implemented.
The legislative session just ended here in OKlahoma featured two of the biggest insurance companies in the country proposing a bill that was essentially a fraud. Since HMO’s suck and everybody knows it, they assigned it three different letters of the alphabet. HMO became EPO, or exclusive provider organization, a product that provided for no out of network benefits. The usual political suspects aligned with those in the insurance industry, pushed hard for this with the help of the largest lobbying firm in the state. Incredibly, this legislation failed. House Bill 2447 got nowhere, thanks to the efforts of my friends Patrick Gaines and Tonya Lee, two people who have worked hard to protect medical practice in Oklahoma from attacks on the free market, like this bill. They have never met a free market-threatening bill they have not been able to kill. Their record of success and ability to build political coalitions is truly remarkable.
Much of what we have been able to accomplish at our facility has been due to the efforts of these two, working hard on the political front, keeping the looters and cronies (who would hamstring our efforts to offer quality care at low prices) from having the success they experience regularly in other states.
Hats off to their success. Their success has translated into ours. Many thanks to you two.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.